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Scripps Health Begins Pioneering Study of Human Tumor Sequencing in Cancer Patients

Research Aims to Develop Individualized Therapies for Cancer Treatment

SAN DIEGO (Vocus) February 17, 2010 -- Scripps Health, through the Scripps Translational Science Institute, is launching a first-of-its-kind clinical research trial for cancer patients that will analyze and compare the genomics of tumor tissue with the individual’s core (native, germ-line) DNA. The hope is the data will lead to individualized therapies for cancer patients.

“The science exists to allow us to sort out what are the new mutations that account for the development of the cancer, which will bring us closer to identifying the right course of treatment not only for each type of cancer, but for each individual patient,” said Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer of Scripps Health and principal investigator of the study.

Finding and targeting cancer mutations is a rapidly growing field and has already begun to transform the way cancer is treated. New technology has increased the understanding of genetic mutations that are associated with the development and progression of cancer. These new and highly advanced technologies are very expensive and labor-intensive.

Patients with a new diagnosis of cancer may elect to participate in this study. While participation in the study is not likely to provide direct benefit for participating patients, the data will be shared with each patient’s treating physician and the hope is that it will have a major impact for future generations of patients.

The study also will create a repository of information on different types of cancers and tumors to promote further a new, precise approach for the future treatment of cancer.

“The ability to provide precise definition at the DNA level of genetic mutations for individual patients will contribute to determining appropriate targeted drug therapies for cancer,” said Samuel Levy, Ph.D, director of genomic sciences at Scripps and a co-investigator of the study. “During this process we will be developing highly precise databases that catalogue the compendium of genomic changes, defining a range of different cancer types. We believe that these data will be invaluable as individualized biomarkers for patient care and will serve as a set of actionable targets for drug design.”

The study will be conducted at Scripps Health locations throughout San Diego County, as well as the San Diego Cancer Center sites in Vista and Encinitas.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Scripps on this exciting, cutting-edge research for the future of individualized cancer care,” said Dr. Mark J. Adler, director, San Diego Cancer Center.

Those interested in more information about this study should contact study coordinator Sharon Haaser at 858-554-5738.


Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,700 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of physician offices and 19 outpatient centers and clinics. Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. More information can be found at

Contact: Rachel Lichterman
Phone: 858-678-7348
Email: lichterman.rachel(at)scrippshealth(at)org

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